According to Business Insider, Steve Ballmer has been convinced that ramping up the numbers of brick-and-mortar Microsoft stores is not a short-term priority.
It is rumoured that Microsoft have been interested in matching Apple store for store in terms of high street numbers, but there are drawbacks to this proposition: brick-and-mortar stores simply aren’t as profitable for Microsoft as for Apple. Apple have always had their stores as their flagship and primary outlet for their hardware, whereas Microsoft have historically preferred to focus on software and allow existing OEM and retail channels to take a cut. Thus, any brick-and-mortar Microsoft effort is essentially competing against its other channels.
However, this may change if Microsoft decides that a high street presence will be useful to WP7’s success, as it has been for the iPhone – Business Insider’s Matt Rosoff posted a convincing anecdote last November on the unique advantages of a real store with real staff to talk to.
via Tom’s Hardware.